Waxwings – Sober

A little bird flitted onto the bird bath at Redquarters this morning, soon joined by a dozen more of his? her? friends.

Bohemian and cedar waxwings are famous for their habit of devouring fermented fruit. They move in flocks, and eat in flocks, and get intoxicated in flocks.

 

I'm not saying these particular birds are buzzed, but this is how it starts . . . http://pics4.city-data.com/cpicc/cfiles59898.jpg

I’m not saying these particular birds are buzzed, but this is how it starts . . . http://pics4.city-data.com/cpicc/cfiles59898.jpg

Now these are drunk birds. Really, guys, in public? http://imgur.com/nK2aze2

Now these are drunk birds. Really, guys, in public? http://imgur.com/nK2aze2

Waxwings are not the only birds, or other animals, that get intoxicated from eating fermenting berries or fruit, just some of the best known. One drunk robin is amusing. Thirty drunk waxwings is a mess. One drunk elephant is . . . a problem best left alone with a one-mile perimeter established to keep people away.

Alas, drunk birds fly into windows and die. I’ve found one or two at Redquarters, just after hearing a very loud thump from the front of the house. The screens on the back windows tend to cushion the impact enough that the birds stagger away. Not so the front windows. I also hear lots of thumps when the hawks make strikes in the yard, too, so distraction and panic may be worse than intoxication.

Today’s waxwings are passing through on their way north, headed for more fruitful climes. Given the weather forecast, they may hang around a few more days. We’re expecting a hard freeze this weekend, and they may decide that south is better for the moment.

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6 thoughts on “Waxwings – Sober

  1. Apple orchards, pear, and persimmon trees… And ‘dead’ drunk birds everywhere… 🙂 I have at least one robin that is pissed that ‘her’ tree got cut down. She keeps landing on the stump and looking around for her birdhouse. Poor thing! I put it in the next tree over, but she doesn’t seem to want that.

    • One of the mockingbirds let us know in no uncertain terms last fall that removing the large dead tree in the back yard was a personal insult. Now he perches in the holly in front and glowers at everyone. And imitates car alarms.

  2. Here in Houston there’s a mulberry tree near my folk’s place that attracts the Cedar Waxwings like a 99 cent happy hour. But Mockingbirds? Lemme tellya about Mockingbirds. The US Post Office refused to deliver the mail to a buddy of mine because of a mockingbird aggressively protecting its nesting area. In downtown Houston. They gave him (and some neighbors) free PO boxes rather than deliver to the door. I’ve SEEN them attack red-tailed hawks, ospreys, and even once a bald eagle.

    • A mockingbird forced Texas Tech to close one door to a campus building and set up a safety perimeter to keep people from being bombarded. Different one, down near Houston, loved attacking my great-aunt’s cat, no matter how far the cat was from any nest in Harris County. They do tend to be “a little” territorial.

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